Hebei aims for pollution fight to bear fruit

Updated: 2013-12-26 08:54

By Wu Wencong in Beijing and Zheng Jinran in Tangshan (China Daily)

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Redeploying workers

Tangshan Iron and Steel Group Co, known as Tangsteel, the largest State-owned steel company in Tangshan, is working to reduce capacity on a large scale. The biggest challenge it faces is the redeployment of 21,000 employees currently engaged in its core activity.

"The company has been developing businesses unrelated to steel production for several years in sectors such as logistics, manufacturing, petrochemicals, real estate, services and education," said Yu Yong, Tangsteel's president.

In 2014, the company will move a further 7,000 workers from the steel sector to non-steel activity. Yu said Tangsteel aims to make non-steel business its most profitable division in the future and is targeting revenue of more than 80 billion yuan by the end of 2015.

But, after all the efforts and the high financial cost to the provincial government, local enterprises and residents, how clean will the air eventually become?

Wang Yuesi, a researcher at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said Hebei will have to do much more than simply cut its steel production capacity by 60 million tons to achieve a quantifiable improvement in air quality.

Compared with the province's current production capacity of 280 million tons, the reduction is likely to just drag the output level back to where it was just a few years ago, when air quality was already extremely poor.

"With such a wide base for production capacity, a reduction of this scale simply isn't enough and will still produce more pollution than the environment will be able to handle, said Wang.

Contact the writers at wuwencong@chinadaily.com.cn and zhengjinran@chinadaily.com.cn

Du Juan contributed to this story.


Hebei aims for pollution fight to bear fruit

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